Golden Foundation

Golden Foundation

chicken broth featured header


I know that I may have been a little (a little?) explicit about my harsh feelings toward this sad little place called Beijing. But I realized that sucks-ass it may (or certainly) be, moving here is undeniably a blessing in disguise when it comes to how my cooking has evolved. With all the convenience that came with living in New York, I would never have learnt about fresh pasta, layery biscuits, insanely flaky pies, crazy buttery brioche, plus many more that has yet to come next. And of course this, homemade golden broth. One may question if this is really worth its own post. Yes, yes it does. Because it’s NOT JUST your average chicken stock.

When it comes to broth, I don’t know what you’re into but I’m fixated on deep, dense, rich-to-a-point-of-milky-ness, lips-sticking broth (you know those ramen soup so milky it raises suspicion of cream as an ingredients?), and deem everything else unworthy. But for years I’ve settled for less in exchange for convenience (shaaaamme….). Now I’m here and that option was taken away from me (may I still sulk a little?), I started researching on how to achieve that level of intensity I look for in broth (if you were one of the few chefs I harassed briefly, I apologize) and let me tell you, now that even if I COULD have the convenience of whatever high-quality canned/packaged broth from the store, I wouldn’t have it. Because it just doesn’t match this. Imagine if every muscle, skin and bones of chickens and pigs have a soul, and there’s a raging hell where they get boiled, burned and rendered unrecognizable, then reincarnate back on earth as a delicious symphony of crazy-flavor-packed singing molecules that is bonded eternally with H2O… Well, this is that. Infinitely better than packaged stuff.

Make it. I know it may seem like time-consuming (it’s really just a couple of DVD’s time!), but because a one-time-supply usually satisfies the demand for 1 whole month or more. And because it’s better than ANY store-bought versions. Better than ANY ORGANIC store-bought versions. Better than ANY doesn’t-matter-how-EXPENSIVELY-FANCY store-bought versions. No packaged, canned or cubed will ever come close to the flavor of a meticulously brewed homemade broth. And because when one day on your way home and out of nowhere you realized that is fall because the leaves are browning, and you feel a bit lonely and sentimental, you could heat up a bowl of chicken broth from the freezer with just a bit of salt’n pepper, and you’ll feel infinitely snuggy, comforted and happy.

yields 10 ~ 12 cups of broth depending on the concentration

* What I’m showing here is a technique of how to brew a deep and dense broth, which means the ingredients part is very adaptable. I like to keep my broth simple and “indifferent” or versatile, if you will, to adapt to different types of cuisine that I would need it for. I don’t even salt it because I want a better control of the saltiness of the dish it goes into.

** Making broth would be much easier with a pressure cooker. But if you don’t have it, you can use a large stock pot as well. It would just take more time.


  • 1 whole free-range chicken, or 2 pairs of chicken scaffolds (all the bones/necks/feet left after the chicken is deboned… your butcher can help you with this)
  • 4 pieces of pork backbone (usually comes in 4″ x 4″ piece), or 2 whole pork shank/ham bones (cut in 3 sections), or 1 whole beef shank bone (cut into 3 sections)
  • 1 pig’s trotter/foot (cut in 4 pieces)
  • 1 piece of 4″ x 4″ (10cm x 10cm) Jinhua ham, or prosciutto ham (cheaper-grade is fine)
  • Enough water to cover ***
  • Aromatics, can be adaptable (I like to keep it simple but add other vegetables and spices if preferred. For example, making stock for the next post niu rou mien) *
    • 2 large jumbo scallions, or leeks *UPDATE 2013/1/15: now I like to substitute scallion with 1 large onion, halved. I think the favor works out better this way.
    • 5 ~ 7 slices of ginger
    • 1 tbsp of black peppercorn
    • 1 tsp of ground tumeric

2:00 ~ 2:30 pm: Place the chicken, pork bones and trotter in a large pot with a few pieces of scallions and gingers (not included from the ingredient list). Fill the pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Make sure every piece of bones and meat is submerged and blanch for 3 minutes (no more pink color or blood). Pour the entire pot out into the kitchen sink (facial alert!) with cold water running, and wash each bones and meats under water until all the scums and dirt are removed (discard the scallions and ginger).

2: 30 ~ 3:40 pm: Place ALL the ingredients in a large pressure cooker (or a large stock pot) **. Add enough water to cover everything by 2″ ~ 3″ (the water : solids ratio should be around 3 : 2 ***), then put the pressure cooker lid on and bring to a “hiss” on high heat (or according to your pressure cooker’s instruction), then turn the heat down to medium-low and pressure-cook for 1 hour (or 2 ~ 2:30 hours without pressure cooker).

3:50 ~ 5:50 pm (or longer without pressure cooker): Open the lid once the pressure is completely released. The chicken, pork bones and trotters should be so rendered down that they would just disintegrate when I press them with a tongs, but we are not done yet. BREAK every single piece of joints, muscles, bones and connected tissues with the tongs until everything (EVERYTHING!!) falls apart into shreds. Partially cover the pot by half, then turn the heat back on to medium. Keep it at a medium-to-high-boil (NOT SIMMER!), and add more water along the way to keep the water level to its original amount until the liquid becomes milky, dense and opaque (not see-through or clear). This will take approx another 2 hours.

5: 50 ~ 6:00 pm: Every solids in the broth should be an unrecognizable mush. Once you get to this point, stop adding more water and let the stock reduce down a little (depending on how concentrated you want it). I usually let it reduce down to 80%. Strain the broth through a sieve into another pot. Use a wooden spoon to really press down on the bones and meats to really extract EVERY DROP of broth, then discard the scraps. You’d be surprised how much more liquid you could get out of the scraps.

Let the broth cool down then divide it into freezer-proof containers and freeze until needed.

  • Tony Chang

    July 25, 2014 at 2:55 AM Reply

    I am a beginner at all of this cooking stuff. I really want to make the Beef Noodle Soup so badly.

    There is that saying that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Maybe your opinion will change after my questions.

    1.) When you say 1 free range chicken, does that mean you tell the butcher to cut all the meat out but keep the bones (for the broth). Or do you tell them to cut a chicken up and put the whole thing into the pot? Like meat and everything.

    2.)In the Beef Noodle Soup stock list, you have 2 large beef shank bones. So I’m guessing the butcher will have shank bones laying around for me to use? ha ha. Or do I buy meat with shank bones and cut out he meat and put the bones in?

    What I’m saying here is that I rather make a fool of myself in the safety of the internet than in front of a butcher thinking I should just eat some vegetables.


    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 25, 2014 at 3:08 AM Reply

      Tony, haha no problem! So use 1 whole chicken, meat and all. Or, 2 chicken scaffolds which is chicken with all the meats removed with just bones left. Then about beef shank bones, it depends on if your butcher has them laying around. If not, then yes you can remove the meat from the shank and use the bone.

      I hope this clarify things :)

      • Samantha W

        January 23, 2018 at 5:50 AM Reply

        Hi mandy, if removing the meat from the beef shanks, can we use the meat when making the beef noodle (mix with boneless beef ribs)? Or will the shank meat be too tou gh?

        • mandy@ladyandpups

          January 23, 2018 at 12:09 PM Reply

          Samantha, it depends on the part of the shank you’re using. There’s a part of the beef shank in Taiwan called “金錢腱” that is used for beef noodles, but not the entire shank because I supposed it can be tough :)

  • Katharine Steele

    August 12, 2014 at 7:07 AM Reply

    Hey there, thanks for this post, it looks delicious! I was wondering though, under the 3:50pm-5:50pm part of the directions, what do you mean by “partially cover the pot by half?” Do you mean just put a different lid (not the pressure cooker sealed lid) on top halfway and continue at a normal boil instead of pressure cooking the stock any further?


    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 12, 2014 at 1:19 PM Reply

      KATHARINE: Yes, just cover the pressure cooker with a different lid (leaving it half covered), and continue the cooking “without pressure”.

  • Marica

    November 26, 2014 at 6:26 PM Reply

    Hi there Mandy, excellent recipe – I’m definitely going to give this a try. Quick question: how long does the broth keep? I assume you refrigerate or freeze it?
    Thanks :)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      November 26, 2014 at 6:45 PM Reply

      Marica, I keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days, and if not finished, I’ll freeze the in tupperware!

  • Minik

    December 9, 2014 at 3:26 PM Reply

    My broth has turned into a jelly in the fridge after one night. Is this OK? Thank you.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 9, 2014 at 3:41 PM Reply

      Minik: yes absolutely! That means you’ve done it right that the stock is full of gelatine. Just re-warm and it will come back into liquid.

  • Minik

    December 9, 2014 at 8:39 PM Reply

    Mmm gelatinous foundation! Thank you Mandy.

  • Keoni G

    January 24, 2015 at 6:18 PM Reply

    If I’m not using a pressure cooker and just using a stock pot, for steps in 2:30-3:40pm, can you specify whether the water should be boiling for 2 hours or not? or on a simmer? Because you said to bring to a ‘hiss’ on high heat for the pressure cooker. so i was just wondering if that was an equivalent to a boil for a stock pot? would i need to reduce heat afterward? thank you.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      January 24, 2015 at 7:27 PM Reply

      KEONI: I would keep it at a medium-boil (not simmer, but not violently boiling either) throughout the whole cooking process. Add more water to the pot to completely cover the ingredients as the water evaporates, until the chicken bones can be completely dismantled, and the broth is milky and opaque, about 3 hours.

  • Tomas Schönbeck

    June 18, 2015 at 5:38 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy! I’ve tried a lot of your recipes with great results, and I’ve always wanted to make some proper chicken stock. I got my hands on a pressure cooker, pigs feet etc, and made a batch yesterday.

    Some questions though:

    1. How much do your approximate the chicken parts should weigh? The “whole chickens” I can find in Sweden has quite a range of weights.

    2. My stock turned into nice jelly in the fridge as it should, but with all the yellow goodies stuck on top. Is this normal? I guess it wont matter when you liquify it, just wondering if it supposed to be like that. Picture for reference: (

    3. Could the jellified stock be used to make xiao long bao, or does it need more aromatics and/or gelatin?

    Thanks for all the recipes, looking forward to try some dan dan mian and mapo tofu with my newly made stock!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 18, 2015 at 7:56 PM Reply

      Thomas, I would say a “whole chicken” is about 1200~1500 grams. The yellow stuff on top of your jello is chicken fat :) Which you definitely want to keep. I usually just divide the stock when it was hot, and equally distribute the fat in each container. But since yours has solidified, might as well just cut it up to divide it. If your recipe doesn’t call for such rich/fatty stock, then remove the fat when it’s cold and solid like that, and store it in an air-tight container. It’s good for sauteeing greens, frying shallots and all sorts of other goodies. As for soup dumplings, the stock will need more gelatin. You can try reducing it by 1/2, which I think should be condensed enough.

  • hl

    July 15, 2015 at 6:23 PM Reply

    Hey Mandy!

    I am not sure about the amount of Jinhua ham i need, it’s missing the third dimension. Do you mean a piece of 10x10x10cm? Here in Germany the easiest is to buy thin slices, do you know how many grams i need?


    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 15, 2015 at 11:34 PM Reply

      Hl, sorry for the confusion. It should be around 10x10x2cm. So basically a really thick slice. I don’t have the weight at this moment, but precision isn’t crutial in this recipe :). Hope it helps!

  • Ben

    August 21, 2015 at 3:56 AM Reply

    I’m trying to make this broth without a pressure cooker. The bones have been boiling for three hours now and they’re nowhere near soft enough to break apart with tongs. Am I missing something? Every other bone broth recipe I’ve read gives at least 24 hours of simmering before the bones soften. Should I just continue boiling?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 21, 2015 at 12:06 PM Reply

      Ben, I would suggest “forcing” them to break with your tongs (or even chop them up), then keep cooking until it reaches the desired state.

  • Marie

    January 24, 2016 at 11:15 PM Reply

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU, for this recipe and the blog in total. I’ve made a few recipes and those that I’ve shared (which means I don’t finish them before I leave the house) are always very well received (and I’m always sure to let folks know where the inspiration comes from. Just spent a blizzard day making this foundation- the prefect pick-me-up for the post shoveling defrost. Cheers!

  • Hasti Ghaznavi

    May 10, 2016 at 2:03 PM Reply

    Hello Mandy, I am new to your blog and want to try so many of your recipes. I thought I would start by making this broth. I got most of the ingredients on your list. I bought 3.25 pounds of chicken bones that included (5)chicken feet, (3)neck bones. I was wondering if that will work or should I just get a whole chicken? Many thanks!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      May 10, 2016 at 5:14 PM Reply

      Hasti, that sounds ok to me, but when in doubt, you can always throw in extra pig bones or any other bone-scraps you have on hand. If you find your broth to be less dense than your liking, you can always reduce it down further :)

  • Trieneke

    October 5, 2016 at 7:59 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy,

    I was wondering if you could make this in the slow cooker. I made my own homemade chicken soup in the slow cooker overnight and it turned out wonderfully.

    Thanks and good luck!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      October 5, 2016 at 8:15 PM Reply

      Trieneke, sorry you can’t. The broth needs to be boiling for a long time to get that milky effect ;)

  • Neil

    November 19, 2016 at 10:12 AM Reply

    Hello, first, love the blog and thank you for sharing your recipes… also the writing is quite funny!

    Second, I’m trying to learn the reasoning/technique behind the pressure cooker and then half covered (why not pressure cook whole time?)

    Thank you

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      November 19, 2016 at 2:06 PM Reply

      Neil, pressure cooker doesn’t allow you to cook the bones to a mush. You’ll have to do that manually. Secondly, it also doesn’t create the rapid boil that results in the milky color (at least that was my experience).

  • Howard Chase

    January 19, 2017 at 10:24 PM Reply

    Great recipe and technique. After skimming and preserving fat(for other uses) refrigerated stock which separated into four distinct layers. The bottom layer very thin, gritty and probably bone meal, the larger second layer gelatinous broth, the third layer composed of the milky yellow layer you describe, and finally the last layer also very thin, fat not captured. I assume after removing layer one and four I should attempt to blend the two remaining layers back together. Should I expect that they will again separate?
    The ginger, shallots and tumeric add an incredible flavor profile, Thanks again hope to make a few more of your recipes.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      January 20, 2017 at 12:48 AM Reply

      Howard, yes the layers will come together again after boiling :) Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • laura

    February 5, 2017 at 12:20 PM Reply

    If I only have high setting on an electric pressure cooker, should I leave it on high the entire time for the hour in the 2:30-3:40 step? And then since it’s electric not stovetop would you recommend I then pour it into a stock pot and continue boiling in the next step? What is the difference in that next step (starting at 3:50) between doing that in a half-covered pressure cooker vs a stock pot?

  • Ryan

    November 17, 2017 at 10:15 PM Reply

    Iv just been out to the butchers but I can’t find a pigs trotter. There bones have already been collected. Is there anything I could substitute for this?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      November 18, 2017 at 3:29 AM Reply

      Ryan, can you find chicken feet?

      • Ryan

        November 18, 2017 at 10:17 AM Reply

        Yeah I have friend who runs a chicken/turkey farm so I’m sure I can get hold of some

  • Ryan

    November 18, 2017 at 6:08 PM Reply

    Ahh great! Thanks for your quick replys! How many will I need for this recipe?

  • Iris

    June 21, 2018 at 7:16 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy,
    I want to try to make this broth, however I don’t eat pork, only chicken… Can this be made using only the chicken? Should I use more amount of chicken then?
    Thank you! :)

  • Keali Pyvis

    July 17, 2018 at 1:49 PM Reply


    I made this recipe but found that I did not get the beautiful golden colour that is in the picture. Mine is more milky looking. I don’t have a pressure cooker and I substituted some pork ribs for the trotter. Is not having the trotter the problem?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 17, 2018 at 8:01 PM Reply

      Keali, if that’s the case you can add more turmeric to intensify the color. The yellowness partly comes from turmeric, and partly comes from chicken fat. So if you’re using a very pale chicken, that will affect the color as well.

  • Jan scherders

    February 16, 2020 at 4:41 AM Reply

    Hi I have made your golden foundation and your taiwan noodle soup. I think I invite you to heaven. The soup is divine and I love the saltiness. But no way my bones did disintegrate. And I really tried. I asked my butcher and he agrees … impossible.
    How do you get pig’s trotters and cow bones to disintegrate and cook them to mush ? I used a hammer and everything but no way .

    I have a few other questions. When you make the broth, it is quite fat. Is it ok to cool the broth and skim the fat ? Or will that ruin the taste ?

    Is it also ok to add some greens – bok Choy – to the soup or is this against Taiwan soup concept ?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 16, 2020 at 5:49 PM Reply

      Jan, lol no the bones will not disintegrate as in melt, but all the meat and fat and joints should completely fall apart. And yes there will be a good amount of fat in the broth. The milkiness is partially a result of the emulsification between fat and protein. You can skim off some fat but try not to overdo it. When u chill and reheat the broth, it would seem “broken”. Simple use an immersion blender to emulsify it again.

  • Elle

    October 30, 2020 at 3:53 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy, I am loving every aspect of this recipe and will be attempting it this weekend, along with your niu rou mien! I just need some clarification with the pressure cooking part (still a newbie at it). I have the IP and not sure what bringing to a “hiss” on high heat entails. If I set to “saute” mode, it would be hazardous to put a lid on since we’re not pressure cooking at this point until after this step. What should I be doing to bring it to a “hiss”?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      October 30, 2020 at 1:35 PM Reply

      Elle, every pressure cooker has different instructions. I have no idea what sauté mode is so I can’t say. But the second boiling will require the lid be removed.

      • Elle

        October 30, 2020 at 9:18 PM Reply

        Thanks for replying so quickly! Would bringing it to a “hiss” with lid on mean bringing it to a boil? Think my pressure cooker is limited so I will have to do it stovetop then transfer to my cooker.

  • Phoebe

    July 7, 2021 at 9:45 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy,

    About how much in weight of each item should I be using? If I’m using thinly sliced proscuitto, how much should I use?

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